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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Standing in the Light

I often browse these blog archives to see what was holding my attention a year ago, two years ago, and even three years ago to the day. I like to discover how my perspective and perception changes over time. On May 3, 2009 I wrote an entry entitled, "I've got your back."

At the time I wrote this particular entry some of the founding members of the fledgling ecommerce site, Bonanzle (later renamed Bonanza) were wondering out loud if management might not have the best interests of its dedicated founding members as a priority...

Many people were beginning to question why a working checkout system and improved search was not being implemented (after 8 months of troubleshooting and serious trouble) in favor of games, distractions and other features which could never improve (and have not improved) the bottom line for sellers without basic functionality in place.

As it became clear that management would not respond directly, but rather issue condescending remarks which gave way to threats and ultimately to censorship of the questions, it was apparent that the working trust had been broken. The game had changed. A general uneasiness, a sense of conflict, suspicion, and alert was widespread. And as sellers were being singled out and picked off, I wanted everyone to know... I saw it and I would stand with them. And so the blog.

My perspective and perception has not changed over time. I will stand, fully illuminated. For you, and for me.

Recently a client asked me for input and help to figure out whether she should feel as violated and hurt as she did in a relationship... was she making a big deal out of nothing, being too sensitive, overreacting? And it occurred to me that we all do this. I did this. We give the benefit of the doubt even as our skin prickles. We freeze in place even as we get the fight or flight signal from our reptilian brains which are still wired to save our lives.

Our feelings are neither good nor bad, they just ARE, so however you feel, you need to honor those feelings. That is your reality. If I am sensing danger, I need to respect that and then examine why... but because I like to avoid confrontation sometimes I just say I am okay with it... I'll just play nice and stuff my feelings...

I'll use my socially-conditioned, friend-seeking, fan-building, people-pleasing skills and numb and dumb myself down into socially-acceptable sleep. And then I wake up and stop it.

I think that we're really seeking is permission to feel what we feel. That was what my client really wanted from me. Validation of her feelings, permission to wake up out of the darkness of deep sleep and say "NO!"

You are the only one who can give yourself that permission to stand in the light of your truth and your feelings, and you are also the only one who can deny yourself that permission. Getting back to the real situation, we teach people how to treat us. If you accept the behavior and elect not to express the true depth of your feelings candidly, you are in essence teaching this person that they may disrespect you by doing it again.

Respect yourself and others will too. It is never okay for anyone to treat you disrespectfully.

If I let someone get away with such behavior, then I think it is actually me who becomes the one who is guilty of disrespecting myself. If I am surrounded by darkness, its because I turned off the light.

And so my advice was this: Always strive to treat yourself, your feelings, and your integrity as you would that of a beloved and respected true friend. You are that true friend. I understand this urge to people-please, and I also understand how damaging it is to one's own spirit.

There's great joy in having someone stand up for you. But it feels even better when you yourself are the one doing it. Learn to seek validation from the only source that really matters, your very own self.
Saying NO can be the biggest YES you'll ever feel!

May you be blessed!

image credit: sherdog.net